Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: A Dangerous Precedent

Many cities have allowed Occupy groups to violate laws, because the mayors and city councils have nostalgia for the sixties, see themselves as civil rights activists and feel sympathetic to this particular cause, whatever they see the Occupy cause as being, since there are no official platforms or goals for the movement.

The whole point of having laws, instead of the whims of kings, is that they apply equally to the people we like and the people we don't like.  Many people have brought up my previous custody case, assuming that since I made "freaky" artwork, I must support Occupy.  My case is a perfect example of a judge not applying the law equally, choosing a favorite based on his personal preference.  Giving special privileges to Occupiers is every bit as unfair as using my artwork against me was.  Let's look at what might come of the precedent set by the Occupy movement.

The Tea Party is now planning to sue cities, to obtain refunds for the fees they were required to pay to get permits for previous rallies.  They say they plan to stage rallies in the future, at which they expect to be treated the same as Occupy gatherings: no permits required, no time limits, and  a right to block traffic whenever and wherever they wish.  The Tea Party has every right to do this.  Treating Occupy differently from every other group that's ever held a rally is a violation of the 14th Amendment, and is discrimination.  If the Tea Party follows through and takes their case to court, they will likely win, and cities will either be found guilty of discriminatory preference for one group or required to allow all other groups the same privileges as Occupiers, or both.

The Westboro Baptist Church loves lawsuits.  They are no doubt eagerly watching to see how this plays out, and if the Tea Party wins its case, you can expect that they will take full advantage of the new legal precedent set by the Occupy movement.  WBC follows the letter of the law while they harass soldiers' funerals, and scream "God hates fags!" at travelers.  When they know they have legal protection to block streets and seize parks, they will do that too.  If you don't mind being hours late to your destination now, because you agree with "the cause," how will you feel when it's because of a street-blocking group shouting that you're going to hell because America doesn't execute gay people?

Because of the privileges shown to Occupy, we may soon live in a world where when you plan a trip, you will have to take into account groups blocking streets randomly.  There will be no app to help you route your trip around the road obstruction, because the groups choose what streets to block on the spur of the moment, while marching.  Any given park may be seized by a group at any time, and once seized you can basically write off that park forever, because the groups seizing them consider them their permanent homes and have no intention of leaving.  Dysentery, cholera, and other diseases caused by overcrowding and poor sanitation will become routine facts of life, as these groups insist on living in unsafe conditions, washing their utensils in buckets filled from local restaurants' bathroom taps, eating food prepared over tins of Sterno instead of full heat, and then mingling with the general population.

The simple pleasure of driving down to the local park for a cookout or game of Frisbee will be gone.  It will be up to your local activists groups, not your city's laws, whether or not you can do that.  Meanwhile you'll still be asked to pay taxes for the upkeep of these roads and parks, which you will not be able to use.  White Power, NAMBLA, Communist Party USA, John Birch Society, the KKK, Hell's Angels, and religious extremists of all types will all have the power to decide where you can and cannot travel.  And it will all be completely legal, because of the precedent set by the Occupy movement.

Before you jump on the bandwagon of support for this group, think through the consequences of what you're supporting.  What's good for the goose is good for the gander.  If it's ok for Occupy to violate the law, every other group, even the nastiest, will also be allowed to violate laws the same way, or else we'll live in a world where those in favor with the powerful will be allowed to do things that those out of favor are not allowed to do, a discriminatory hell.  Instead of skin color, privilege will be determined by the content of the sign you hold, with "righthinking" people given power to violate the rights of everyone else.


  1. This is like reading someone justifying the Bible. You don't even know where to begin.

  2. I agree that Tea Party members shouldn't be treated differently than OWS demonstrators. The freedom to assemble has been eroded by municipalities demanding permits for decades. The point of the first amendment is that the government doesn't have the right to interfere with peaceful assemblies.


    If Americans become aware of that, and that sparks more demonstrations, more in your face speech, and that interferes with commuters getting to the football game, to work, to church, or to Grandma's house, that's too bad.

    It is completely legal, and it's not because of the precedent set by OWS and OWS-inspired local groups. It's because of the constitution. It's because of our right to peaceably assemble and to speak our mind on any issue. ANY issue. The constitution trumps municipal law. This is true no matter how admirable the cause and how eloquent the speakers, or how repugnant the ideas and how thuggish and foolhardy the supporters.

    Discrimination against the message is incorrect, and the point is well taken. But because of the first amendment to the constitution, freedom of speech and assembly is protected. Propagandizing fear of dysentery and cholera is nothing but polemic, and while there is an argument that maintained filth in a public place is a hazard, if a group keeps it clean and rotates their members I don't see a problem with a sustained occupation. This kind of living is hardly a new phenomenon, every city in America has large homeless encampments and has for decades, it's hardly a major health issue.

    Inconvenient? Sure. Annoying? Absolutely. Outrageous? Definitely.

    Essential to preserving the shreds of what's left of your Democracy?
    You decide.


  3. OHHHHHHHHHHH LOOOOOORD! OWS IS BAD OWS IS BAD OWS IS BAD! The tea party wasn't discriminated against. Its movement was bought and paid for by corporations and the right wing party. Of course the establishment is going to allow the sheep to peacefully assemble and pay for their permits to exercise their now bought "freedom" of speech.
    Quit whining and go live in iran if you love authoritarianism so much!

  4. If she lived in Iran, it would just be in SecondLife.